Estate Planning Tips for Unmarried Partners

Estate Planning Tips for Unmarried Partners

It is increasingly common for two people to be in a long-term relationship, but not be officially married. This means they do not have a marriage or civil union certificate.

If you are in this situation, it is important to arrange your estate plan in such a way that accounts for your partner. Without a will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestate succession. Because your partner is not directly related to you and not your spouse, he or she would not inherit any of your assets unless you make certain arrangements.

The following are some estate planning tips to keep in mind for any life partners who are not married.

  • Write wills: Don’t delay this any longer. If you have assets you care about and want your partner to be able to inherit from you, you must have a will in place so that you can choose the people who will receive your property. If you don’t have a will, most of your property will be passed to your surviving siblings and/or parents (if you don’t have children).
  • Own your assets together: Another way to ensure your partner gets some of your most valuable assets after you pass away is to own items in joint tenancy with right of survivorship. This is a common arrangement for valuable items like cars and houses. When one owner dies, the other automatically takes full ownership of the property.
  • Designate beneficiaries: For assets that allow you to name beneficiaries, make sure you’ve listed your partner as your chosen beneficiary. These assets could include retirement accounts, bank or investment accounts and life insurance policies, among many others. If you change your mind and wish to name a different beneficiary later, you can do so easily.
  • Establish advance directives: You should have a living will and durable powers of attorney arranged to give your partner the authority to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

To learn more about the estate planning steps you should take if you are not married to your partner, work with a knowledgeable Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.